Monday, January 27, 2014

No, There is No Anti-Freeze in Your Lube

The other day, the lovely Koko let me know that she'd had a customer in who had told her she had thrown out her lube because she saw on 'The Doctors', that there is anti-freeze in the lube she was using. Aaarrrrggghhh! It drives me crazy when people who have a platform on TV use it to spread misinformation that freaks people out. This is not true. There are no lubes that are made with anti-freeze in them because anti-freeze itself is actually toxic.

Here's how this idea got started. The ingredient used in anti-freeze is ethylene glycol. It is fairly toxic and not really something humans should consume or put in their bodies. The ingredient that is commonly used in lubes is propylene glycol. This is used in many types of foods and consumer products. It is toxic, but, as with almost anything, only in high concentrations and large amounts. Propylene glycol has been studied quite extensively and there has never been any proven link to any serious adverse side effects when consumed in small doses.

But Brenda, you might say, propylene glycol IS used in anti-freeze. That's true, it is used in a number of industrial applications. But there are three important things to note about that. First, propylene glycol has replaced ethylene glycol in a lot of industrial products exactly because it is not toxic like ethylene glycol is. Second, the amount used in these products are much higher concentrations than in lubes and other consumer products so the effect of its presence is not the same. Three, just because propylene glycol is used in anti-freeze does not mean it IS anti-freeze. It can also be made in a variety of ways from a variety of different materials so not all forms of it are alike.

All that being said, I'm not saying that propylene glycol is necessarily your friend. It is not toxic in the levels in which it is present in consumer products and it is concerned safe to use inside the body. However, although there's not a lot of research on this, anecdotal evidence seems to indicate that propylene glycol is one of the ingredients in lubes that tends to change the ph level in the vagina. This can lead to yeast infections in women who are quite prone and it can also interfere with the health and motility of sperm. This is not to say that you should use it as a contraceptive, it just might be a problem for women who want to get pregnant. Some women seem to find that because of that ph thing, lubes with propylene glycol leave them feeling itchy and dry, which can itself lead to other problems like bacterial infections.

So no, it is definitely not anti-freeze, but it's also not necessarily the best thing in the world. Some women seem to have a lot of trouble with it. The good news is, there are many lubricants that don't contain propylene glycol. It's not present in any 100% silicone lube. Sliquid H20, Sliquid Organics, Slippery Stuff and Wet Naturals do not contain propylene glycol.

I found this nice little youtube video that clearly and simply explains the whole anti-freeze issue.

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